Consultancies need a graduate probationary period

With regard to the Education guesswork article, as a recent graduate I believe some obvious factors contribute to the perceived low number of quality design graduates.

With regard to the Education guesswork article (DW 23 March), as a recent graduate I believe some obvious factors contribute to the perceived low number of quality design graduates.

There are too many courses that just scrape degree status. Discussions with a number of undergraduates and recent graduates from a range of design schools has often drawn the confession: ‘We have to do an essay on a boring subject to make it worthy of degree status.’

Worse still, due to the ubiquitous modular course structures, students can fragment a so-called design degree to include barely related subjects. This understandably fuels misgivings for prospective employers and confuses what they can expect from a design graduate or even a design school.

Once in a design consultancy, a new graduate can expect to be thrown in at the deep end, but after displaying flair in any given area is most likely to just be given that type of work. This is because many small businesses have a limited ability to run a well-rounded design graduate development programme.

Perhaps it is about time that the design profession recognised the need to nurture design graduates and provide structured development. Doctors of medicine are, for example, required to undertake a three-year probationary period where they are not recognised as fully qualified.

Design schools can only, at best, show potential designers the door into the design world. Introducing a probationary period where real-world, core competences are developed could produce the future quality designers. And at the same time, align design consultancies’ expectations of new graduates with what is available.

Dave Pearce

dave@gonecritical.co.uk

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